Rain was predicted yesterday. This morning I notice a little bit of orange light, but the sun itself hides behind the clouds. Soon, it starts to rain. As I can not go to Cathedral Cove, it seems best to drive directly to Rotorua. I am searching for a while for a waterfall, but I can not find it with the little information I have on it. The signs are missing as well, as usual.
Close to the place I am looking for the waterfall I see some birds wandering around. It is the same black bird with blue chest as I photographed a couple of days ago. They are quite shy, but if you stand still they move closer, hopping from left to right in evasive manoeuvres. With a little bit of patience I am able to photograph a couple of them.
To the south of the Coromandel Peninsula, the terrain is reasonably flat. I can still see some hills in the distance but closeby it is mostly farmland here.
Ancient Volcanoes and Geysers
Around 12:00 I arrive in Rotorua and I start looking for a motel, immediately. It is raining that much, that it is not sensible to start seeing things. First I try to find the Quality Inn, but I can not find that one. The location indicated by the GPS is now occupied by a hospital. The second one, Ibis, is full. Then I think, ‘Ah yes, it is weekend’. I see a lot of motorhomes on the GPS, but I am not in the mood for those right now. I really feel for a large motel now. No creaking floors, but just a normal, anonymous room in a large building. Soon after, I discover Novotel. I think, ‘lets do that one’ (wrong!).
Behind the desk are some arrogant shrews in suits that give me a look like ‘What are you doing here?’. The first thing they tell me, is that there are much cheaper motels in the area. I admit, I am reasonably unshaved, have been wearing the same trousers for a week, am completely soaked by the rain and am carrying a backpack. So, I can imagine a reaction like this somewhat, but it is actually quite offensive and insane. If you enter in suit, they treat you with all egards, while it means nothing really.
I ask one of them whether she has a room available for today, which she answers with ‘Yes we have one, but I guess you will want to know the price first?’. I bet she thinks, this will scare me off or something. Funny are always the faces they pull, if you just say ‘I will take it’.
This is the most expensive room sofar and is even more expensive than yesterdays studio: 220 dollars. Compared to European standards, this is not that expensive after all, converted it settles down for 116 Euros. The average hotel sofar costs 70 dollars a night. Naturally, you have high expectations from an expensive hotel like this, but these turn into disappointment very quickly. Internet is limited to 8MB per day or 30 minutes, whatever you reach first. That 8MB is barely enough to send some emails. With that bad weather outside, I was really looking forward to an internetting afternoon. Just to orientate a bit on all things that can be visited here. Of course you can buy extra internet time, but that costs around 30 euro per day. To me that is a complete waste of money.
I am happy with the bathtub in the room though. Because of the limitations in internet use, I jump straight in. This time I pay very close attention to prevent flooding of the bathroom, that happened to me during earlier trips. Luckily nothing bad happens this time (-; Later I find out that there are two iMacs in the lobby with free internet access, but limited to 20 minutes per visit. Here I sit for a while, to find things out.
On the news I hear that, a whopping 12.5 centimeters of rain is expected today for this area. There are warnings about inconveniences on the road, due to the water. The weather forecast contains rain for tomorrow and the day after, but this should be limited to showers only after tomorrow morning.
Travel Times and Distances
In the afternoon I collect some brochures, to find out what is out here to see. There are several geothermal areas with the same kind of phenomenons like in Yellowstone National Park. The travel times necessary to visit them are reasonably short. The distance between Rotorua and Lake Taupo is only 1 hour. All the geothermal areas are located between these two places.
I already check times and distances for the days after Lake Taupo. From Lake Taupo to Mt Egmond is 3 hours, from Mt Egmond to Wellington is 4 hours and from Lake Taupo directly to Wellington is 5 hours. By the end of the week (thursday or friday) I want to be in Wellington for the ferry to South Island. Traveltimes are reasonable. I can be at the ferry within 5 hours. If I want to see Mt Egmond, it takes only another 2 hours traveling. I think I will take the time exploring the area between Rotorua and Lake Taupo, because that is really interesting for me. I think I can Mt Egmond as well. I will skip all the other areas south and east of here. There is no point to start racing and see everything only half.
Now it is time for dinner: an excellent Indian Mango Curry with Mango Kulfi (coconut icecream). After that I will go to bed early and see tomorrow what the weather is like.
Refrigerators & Co
I have got a minibar on my room, with all kinds of expensive stuff in it. I am going to use that thing as a refrigerator for the leftovers of my Indian dinner. There is a another story attached to the freaking fridge. I had already put it on a lower level, because these things just make such a noise. At night I am startled twice by that damn thing, after I was just fallen asleep. I think ‘this needs some attention’. There is no on/off switch on it and its already running on its lowest level, so we will have to find the plug. That seems to be behind the fridge in the cabinet. There is only one alternative and that is to pull the thing out gently. It is quite heavy for its size. I get it out carefully until I do see the plug. All the bottles rinkle a bit but keep standing luckily. I give a firm pull on the cord and finally it is completely quiet in the room. I push the fridge back in. Some black sticky stuff has come out and is now dripping from the cabinet. Just clean this up a bit. The towel is now black as well and has to be cleaned also. Finally I can have my sleep.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file gpx file here.